Google’s Circle to Search: A New Way to Search on Mobile

Google’s Circle to Search: A New Way to Search on Mobile

Google is using the fact that it is the most popular search engine to get ahead in the race for AI with two new search features that use AI. Users can now add word-based queries to Lens’s improved multisearch feature. This gives AI-powered insights instead of just visual matches. This feature is available on all devices. Google has been using the term “helpful” to describe new features added to its search product, voice assistant, generative AI tool Bard, and even its Pixel earbuds. However, Google’s main search service has become less helpful, with the Financial Times describing it as “cluttered with ads.” 

A well-known former Google employee says that the worsening quality of Google searches is due to the web as a whole, not just Google. The web still gives us free access to all of the world’s information. A new study of product review results shows that Google does better than some of its competitors, even though search results are of lower quality overall.

(Image credit: Google)

Google is now looking at generative AI as a way to speed up and simplify search. It is now walking a fine line between making search smarter and making its already cluttered user interface even more confusing. Its most recent news about generative AI for mobile search is part of this experiment: If Google stays with the same ad strategy, is there a way to make Google Search easier to use and more accessible?

High-end Android phones, like Google’s Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro and Samsung’s brand-new Galaxy S24 phones, will get some new AI features later this month. These features will make search and Google Lens, the company’s image-recognition app, work directly with other apps on the phone. These features include Circle to Search, which lets you touch and choose pictures, text, or videos inside an app, then do a quick search in a bar that appears at the bottom of the screen.

Users can do searches in both of these situations without having to switch between apps, which is an example of a search being efficient or helpful. However, they also clearly offer business opportunities (which is what Lens is often used for, in addition to taking pictures of nature), which is good for Google’s ad business. 

Google confirmed that search and shopping ads will still show up in their spots on the results page. The search overlay will only take up a small part of your phone’s screen, so if the results are ads, it could quickly become more annoying than useful.

The new multi-search feature on Google that AI powers works a lot like Circle to Search, but it takes in a different type of input. When you point your phone at an object and use Google Lens, the visual search feature in the Google mobile app, you will now see “AI-powered insights” along with the search results you would normally see. Anyone in the US with an iOS or Android phone that has the Google app will be able to use the AI-powered multi-search.

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